Growing numbers of unaccompanied minors seek asylum in Belgium

04 May 2011

UNHCR reports that the refugee agency and the Belgian government are increasingly alarmed at the rising number of unaccompanied children seeking asylum. In January this year, 138 children sought asylum against 59 in January 2010; the figure for February was 149 against 56 while in March a total of 196 applied for asylum against 47 a year earlier. Until 2009, the average age of these youngsters was 16-17 years old, but recently we are seeing more children who are as young as 12. It’s not clear why the figures have risen so much and the reasons why parents send their children on their own are complex. The children spend a few weeks in one of two Fedasil observation and orientation centres and then they are sent to collective reception centres.


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